Author Archives: Aubrey Joy

Review: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) – Leigh Bardugo


Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) – Leigh Bardugo

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2)

Title: Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 560

Source: Target

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

3 out of 5 stars


Crooked Kingdom, second book in the Six of Crows duology, follows the misfit crew of Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Wylan, Jesper, and Kuwei as they unveil secrets, devise intricate and delicate plans, and ruin lives.

I don’t know what it was about this book, but I’m honestly a little disappointed. The writing style is great; a little too detailed for my taste at moments, but still nice. I love the intricacies of the characters. They’re all unique and interesting with well-thought-out back stories.

I think what bothered me about this book was the amount unspoken. I love trying to figure out what happened and why while I’m reading, but I don’t think there were enough clues given to be able to fully understand what was happening before it was explicitly stated. It’s a given that Kaz will come up with crazy plans, but sometimes it would be nice to be in on the secret before it has to be stated. I feel like there was a lot of telling and not showing throughout this book. There was NO WAY to possibly understand every nuance before it was explicitly stated, and that kind of bothered me. Yes, it’s awesome to read about a great plan, but it’s not as satisfying if you don’t get to see how it all unfolds.

SPOILERS AHEAD

The ending was SO UNSATISFACTORY. I knew something was going to happen to someone right at the end, but it just doesn’t really make a ton of sense. It seemed more like a plot device and less like an intentional choice.

Also, where the heck is the romance.

All I wanted was for some romance from these characters who OBVIOUSLY loved each other, and we barely got anything! What’s up with that? I understand this is YA, but why was the number of romantic scenes less than fingers I have on one hand? All I wanted was some cute romance. Again, I think there was too much left to the imagination.

It’s just weird because I really did enjoy a lot of this book, but overall I think my feelings were pretty “okay” about it. I just don’t understand why we couldn’t have had a real romance.

Jesper and Wylan could have EASILY been together for more than half the book. The ending with Kaz and Inej… why not more than that? He never even TOLD Inej about why he hates skin on skin contact. She spilled her heart to him and he couldn’t do the same. I’m just confused.

I see why a lot of people like this duology, but I think the first book was much stronger than this one.

Series:

Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1)

Aubrey Joy

Review: Begin Again: The Brave Practice of Releasing Hurt and Receiving Rest – Leeana Tankersly


Begin Again: The Brave Practice of Releasing Hurt and Receiving Rest – Leeana Tankersly

Begin Again: The Brave Practice of Releasing Hurt and Receiving Rest

Title: Begin Again: The Brave Practice of Releasing Hurt and Receiving Rest

Author: Leeana Tankersly

Release Date: April 3, 2018

Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 192

Source: borrowed from a friend

What happens when life begins to trip us up and failure starts creeping in? Many of us just keep on doing the same thing, hoping for different results. Some of us look for escape, to find a way out of the mess we feel that we’ve created. But neither enduring nor escaping is ultimately what we need.

The answer is to allow ourselves to begin again, every day, in every part of our lives. Through engaging, lyrical prose, Leeana Tankersley shows women how to forgive themselves, develop new and healthier patterns of living, and do away with resentment and regret. Her life-giving words will free women who are feeling stuck and allow them to clear out the debris to make room for what God wants to do in their lives. To begin again is to open the window, even a crack, to let the breeze of grace come in. It is a call to stop running from our fears. To take one small step toward becoming the brave women we were made to be.

2 out of 5 stars


I enjoyed the message of this book, but the execution was extremely lacking.

Begin Again is a non-fiction, Christian self-help book written by Leeana Tankersley taking stories from her life and noticing how she has chosen to live by the motto “begin again.”

Again, the message is great. Give your life over to Jesus, He will save you, and help you to start over when times are hard and you’re confused with life. I COMPLETELY agree. I’ve been dealing with some hard stuff and big decisions in the last year, and my newfound relationship with Christ has helped me in countless ways. I love being part of a church and reading my Bible; it’s been awesome, so I was really excited about this book because it seemed like I would be able to connect with it.

I was disappointed.

The writing style was just so unpolished that it took away from the purpose of the book for me. This read like a first draft written by a middle schooler. No offense to middle schoolers… a 40 year old woman with an English degree should definitely be able to write better than this.

The chapters were so short and choppy. The sentences were so simple that it made it difficult to read. Come on. You. Do. Not. Need. To. Put. Periods. After. Every. Three. Words. Get it together, honestly.

I am a word nerd. I LOVE sentence structure. Semi-colons are my favorite form of punctuation. The fact that I have a favorite form of punctuation should speak to the fact that I like books and reading. It just doesn’t make sense to me why you would write something so simplistic for the fact of emphasis. Complex sentences make the world-go-round, people!

Another thing that was confusing to me: Unnecessary Capitalization. Um. It makes no sense to me why the word ‘love’ was capitalized… for no reason. It wasn’t representative of anything. It was just the classic meaning of the word. Why does it need emphasis then? There were so many instances of this and it just makes no sense.

The way the stories and chapters were written was so confusing. She would start one story, then randomly jump to another thing, return but be going in a different direction. Bro. Chill out. Introduce the members of your family so I know what your kids’ names are. I don’t want to be confused the heck out about who Elle is in the second to last chapter! The thing with memoirs is that you need to be open about your life in order for them to be successful. I feel like I don’t know this woman because she didn’t explain ANYTHING about herself.

Maybe I’m just in a hypercritical mindset right now, but these are my thoughts. I would still give this a try if you enjoy Christian self-help books; go in with an open mind.

Aubrey Joy

Review: My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies – Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Jacob Phillips


My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies – Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Jacob Phillips

My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies

Title: My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies

Author: Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Jacob Phillips

Release Date: October 10, 2018

Publisher: Image Comics

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 72

Source: Library

Teenage Ellie has always had romantic ideas about drug addicts, those tragic artistic souls drawn to needles and pills have been an obsession since the death of her junkie mother ten years ago. But when Ellie lands in an upscale rehab clinic where nothing is what it appears to be… she’ll find another more dangerous romance, and find out how easily drugs and murder go hand-in-hand.

MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES is a seductive coming-of-age story, a pop and drug culture-fueled tale of a young girl seeking darkness — and what she finds there.

3 out of 5 stars


I don’t know. I’m not 100% sold.

This graphic novel follows a girl named Ellie who has been romanticizing addiction her whole life. Her mother was an addict and all her musical heroes were addicted to alcohol or drugs, so she decides to experiment with different substances. The novel starts out with her in rehab and escalates from there.

I don’t really understand the point of this book.

The art style was cool and the color scheme was nice, so I’m adding an extra star for that, but the plot was just dumb. Ellie decides to date this other guy that’s in rehab with her, and she deceives him in the end, but there was no point to her doing that. There just wasn’t a purpose for any of her motives at all.

I liked the flashbacks from her childhood about why she became obsessed with addiction, but it also doesn’t seem like a solid plot device.

This served its purpose of being a quick read. Idk I don’t really have anything else to say about it.

Aubrey Joy

Review: Alice: From Dream to Dream – Giulio Macaione, Giulia Adragna, Jackie Ball, and Jim Campbell


Alice: From Dream to Dream – Giulio Macaione, Giulia Adragna, Jackie Ball, and Jim Campbell

Alice: From Dream to Dream

Title: Alice: From Dream to Dream

Author: Giulio Macaione, Giulia Adragna, Jackie Ball, and Jim Campbell

Release Date: October 2, 2018

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Format: Paperback

Page Number: 144

Source: Library

After moving back to Ohio, Alice is stuck sharing a bedroom with her brother, and worse, sharing his dreams! The bright spot in her life is her best friend, Jamie, but there’s more history between their families than Alice realized, and there are secrets buried deep in their small town that only she’ll be able to explore…but only in her dreams!

From writer and artist Giulio Macaione (Ofelia), Alice: From Dream to Dream is an otherworldly trek into a spectacular world of dreams, nightmares, and being a teenager.

4 out of 5 stars


I LOVED the art style of this graphic novel. I think this is my favorite art style I’ve ever seen in anything, honestly. The colors were beautiful and went together so well, and the illustrations were just amazing. It was so whimsical and well suited for a graphic novel!

This story follows Alice who can experience other people’s dreams. She has been experiencing her brother’s nightmares and has been getting no sleep because of it. The only good part about her life is her best friend Jamie because he helps her deal with school bullies, and is always there for her. When he randomly starts acting differently Alice becomes very confused and sad because their friendship isn’t what it used to be. Jamie gets in an accident and ends up unresponsive and in a coma, so Alice decides she’ll try and use her ability to see other people’s dreams to go and help him.

This was a super cool concept and reminded me a lot of Alice in Wonderland. This could be partly because her name is Alice, so that seed was already planted in my mind, but who knows. I am always intrigued by dreams because mine are ALWAYS so vivid. I have the weirdest dreams out of anyone that I know, and I can pretty much always remember them in the morning. Very strange, but this made me connect with the story more!

I loved the diversity of the cast of characters. Yay for actually having different ethnicities, but not making it feel like you’re just checking off boxes. It’s always so impressive. The main character, her mother, and her brother were all black; her father and best friend were white. It was just nice seeing different groups represented.

All in all I think this was a great graphic novel and would recommend picking it up! The color scheme – 10/10.

Aubrey Joy

Review: Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1) – Crystal Smith


Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1) – Crystal Smith

Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf, #1)

Title: Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1)

Author: Crystal Smith

Release Date: March 12, 2019

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 373

Source: Library

Princess Aurelia is a prisoner to her crown and the heir that nobody wants. Surrounded by spirits and banned from using her blood-magic, Aurelia flees her country after a devastating assassination attempt. To escape her fate, Aurelia disguises herself as a commoner in a new land and discovers a happiness her crown has never allowed. As she forges new bonds and perfects her magic, she begins to fall for a man who is forbidden to rule beside her. But the ghosts that haunt Aurelia refuse to abandon her, and she finds herself succumbing to their call as they expose a nefarious plot that only she can defeat. Will she be forced to choose between the weight of the crown and the freedom of her new life?

2 out of 5 stars


I honestly wasn’t a huge fan of this book; there just wasn’t much to the story.

Bloodleaf follows Aurelia who pretends to be a girl named Emilie when she runs away to a different city. She is learning to use her blood magic powers and ends up becoming besties with some people that are high up in the government in this new place. Emilie (Aurelia) is actually the princess but none of her new friends know this, and she gets brought into different issues because of her blood magic.

There just wasn’t a lot happening in this book that warrants being a great story, honestly. The magic system was NOT described hardly at all. I was just kind of confused when it came to what was actually happening. Also, Aurelia literally has no idea how to use this blood magic. She doesn’t know what she’s doing when she flees home to come to this new place, and then starts messing with it and perform the magic perfectly by the end of the book… umm? I get that you need to practice something in order for it to be a thing, but come on. She has no one teaching her. There’s literally no way that she would know what she’s doing.

The talking to spirits/ghosts/whatever they are was also not explained at all. How does she know how to communicate with these people, and why is she able to? There are just so many unexplained questions I have about this book.

The romance was SO DUMB. So Aurelia was in love with this guy from home before and when he’s bringing her to the new place he literally falls off a cliff. I actually laughed out loud because it was just so dumb, and then she’s magically just over him in 2 seconds. Like no big deal, the guy you’ve been in love with for your whole life is just dead and it’s not an issue. Then she goes and starts falling in love with this guy who turns out to be the sickly prince she was supposed to marry in the first place. *eyeroll*

The relationship with her and this undercover prince is just so… weirdly forced. It’s also unsuccessfully trying to be the hate-to-love trope. Which I actually usually enjoy, but it was just poorly executed, in my opinion.

This is one of those books that I didn’t really realize I had so many feelings about until I starting writing this review… so there’s that lol.

I think part of the reason I didn’t enjoy this book that much was because I just don’t do well with ebooks. So I started reading this on my Nook right when it came out because it is the group book for the readathon I co-host on my YouTube channel, but I just don’t connect with the books as much. Then I got the book from the library and finished it much faster. Idk, so that could be a factor but it could also just not be a great book for me.

Thanks for reading this rant-y review have a great day give the book a try if you wanna.

Aubrey Joy

March Wrapup


Read:

  1. Tiny Houses Built with Recycled Materials: Inspiration for Constructing Tiny Homes Using Salvaged and Reclaimed Materials – Ryan Mitchell *review*
  2. The Man Who Quit Money – Mark Sundeen *review*
  3. Tales From the Shadowhunter Academy – Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, and Robin Wasserman *review*
  4. Bloodleaf (Bloodleaf #1) – Crystal Smith *review*
  5. Alice: From Dream to Dream – Giulio Macaione, Giulia Adragna, Jackie Ball, and Jim Campbell *review*
  6. My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies – Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Jacob Phillips *review*

Aubrey Joy

Review: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy – Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman


Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy – Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Title: Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy

Author: Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Maureen Johnson, Robin Wasserman

Release Date: November 16, 2016

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Format: Hardcover

Page Number: 672

Source: Barnes and Noble

Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fireleft him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows he was friends with Clary, and that he convinced the total goddess Isabelle Lightwood to go out with him…but he doesn’t know how. And when Clary and Isabelle look at him, expecting him to be a man he doesn’t remember…Simon can’t take it.

So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. His new self. Whomever this new Simon might be.

But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems. Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement. And that differences—like being a former vampire—are greatly looked down upon. At least Simon is trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.

Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. These ten short stories give an epilogue to the Mortal Instruments series and provide glimpses of what’s in store in the Dark Artifices.

5 out of 5 stars


I didn’t realize how much there is about the Blackthorns in this book! It just makes me that much more excited to reread The Dark Artifices series omg. I’m actual trash for Emma and Julian so seeing them… I’m totally not prepared for Lord of Shadows or Queen of Air and Darkness.

I love Simon, so this book is always enjoyable to read for me. I love these anthologies because they’re easy to read and give a little more information on my favorite characters. I forgot so much about this book. I think I’ve only read this one once, and the Dark Artifices weren’t published when this came out, so I didn’t understand the extent of the Blackthorns, but now I know. Now I understand, and like I said, I’M TRASH FOR THEM. I love all the characters so much wow.

Also, George. So cute. So sweet. I wish the thing didn’t happen to him. Sad.

The story with Alec and Magnus and baby Max makes me extra suspicious about this new baby. I think that Max is super fricking cute and I love reading about Alec and Magnus, but guys. Something has to happen with the backstory of this child. There’s no way it won’t come up in the Malec books.

I just love these books, everyone knows that lol. I loved them from the start and will FOREVER read everything by Cassandra Clare. Hopefully I’ll be able to go to a signing for a future book :)

Aubrey Joy